On Wednesday, John Key visited the southern Coromandel area with local National MP Scott Simpson and was challenged by citizens who spontaneously organised protests against the Government position on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
I went down to Waihi expecting a handful of people but in fact there were 50 locals, many of whom were young people. It was really quite extraordinary to be with a group of young people who were living in a small town, no longer in school, struggling to find work, and utterly passionate about stopping the TPPA becuase it will strip our sovereignty.
They had made colourful banners and used colourful language to describe how they felt about a Prime Minister who was not listening and was trying to distract us with a wasteful flag referenda. I felt more hopeful than I had for a long time as we stood peacefully outside the school where John Key was speaking.
The students from the school later told us that Key had talked to them about the flag, when they were concerned about kids coming to school with no shoes.
Waihi is not a wealthy town despite all the gold thats been ripped put of it, but the honest and vibrant stance of the young people protesting, who described themselves as “minority youth” was powerful.
Waihi is on the frontline of the TPPA because the Waihi gold mine is being bought by Oceana Gold, the company which is suing the Government of El Salvador for $470 million. El Salvador decided to stop the mining that was destroying its clean water source – and now they’re getting sued for this decision. The TPPA could allow multinational corporations to sue New Zealand for making similar decisions in our country’s best interests.
John Key then went to Katikati where about 100 people protested about the TPPA outside his public meeting. He talked a lot about the flag but it seems nobody around here is buying into his vanity project, we want answers on the TPPA!
I’m feeling very proud to be part of the Hauraki/Coromandel communities. They have given me hope for this country and the future.